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A Better Partnership
December 11, 2014

COA clarifies a merchant’s duty to provide adequate security at a nightclub

The Michigan Court of Appeals in Mouzon v. Blackwell Center, No. 312219 held that a nightclub did not breach its duty to patrons when it did not provide armed security guards nor notify authorities of a shooting because police were already on the scene.
Alwyn Mouzon was a customer at a nightclub and became involved in an altercation with another nightclub guest, Antoine Kope. After the altercation Mouzon was leaving the building when Kope opened fire and shot Mouzon. Police were nearby and immediately responded to the gunfire. Kope and police engaged in a fire fight which left Kope dead.
Mouzon argued that under Michigan premises liability law, he should be able to recover from the night club for his injuries sustained in the shooting as they failed to protect him by: 1) not providing armed security guards; 2) allowing Kope to enter the club armed; 3) failing to call the police when the gunfire erupted.
The Court disagreed. It determined that based on Michigan case law, a “merchant’s duty of reasonable care does not include providing armed visible security guards to deter criminal acts of third parties.” This includes when a merchant voluntarily provides security guards. Further, the Court determined that where police are already on scene a merchant has owes no duty to contact the police. A merchant is obligated only to make “reasonable efforts to contact the police in situations in which criminal acts are occurring on the premises.”
The Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of Mouzon’s claims.

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